We're here this month with another blog post about marketing for optometrists from our friends at The Optical Vision Site! Believe it or not, we are well into 2014 and it's time to make sure you are on top of the latest Retail and Eyecare trends of 2014. Get in the loop and check out what's hot!
I think we know by now that tech rules. In 2014, you will see more apps, and more use of wearable technology in the medical field. That includes smart glasses and watches, fitness wristbands, smart eyelashes, and wigs. Most of the wearable tech will be utilized in fitness and in health. More so in 2015 than in 2014, point and click technology will become mainstream. What does that mean to eyecare professionals?
1. You better have your website mobile friendly, and have your locators set up. Smart phones will influence over 870 Billion dollars worth of shopping. This is the year that mobile will become the norm. Mobile shopping accounted for the 17% of Cyber Monday shopping, a 55% increase over the last year.
2. Increase in Show-rooming. With more smart phones and tablets, it is a shop and click world. (See Overcoming Showrooming)
3. Increase in Online Shopping. You think you have it bad now...just wait...and see our ongoing series on The Greatest Online Debate.
4. Electronic companies will be focusing on the 55+ age group...that is the eyecare professionals premium market. Previously they went for the early adopters and youth, but the demographics for the 55+ crowd are very good.
5. 3D Printing is revolutionizing the manufacture of all products. From eyeballs to houses, coupled with lower pricing, the average Joe can purchase a printer and make their own eyewear at home.
6. Technology means virtual trunk shows or try on technology that is affordable to every company.
8. Every Monday on our sister site Optical Vision Resources we run Kickstarting Monday, which features new eyewear, sun wear, or accessory products on crowd-sourcing sites such as Indiego and Kickstarter. Most of these companies are already established. What does this mean? Online eyewear has just gotten more competitive.
9. Consumers will be using technology and search to monitor their health. This is the time to set up your Wellness Marketing Model. As eye care professionals you have options available. Eyecare professionals should be marketing and offering wellness products such as naturaceuticals, eye healthy recipes, low vision, specialty markets, computer lenses, and sunglasses.
10. In the old days, you tracked customer purchases by what they actually bought. Today, retail will be dominated by three things:
What the customer searched for online
What they pinned on Pinterest
Eye Tracking in store. Yes, Big Brother is watching and tracking where your eyes go first. For eyecare professionals that means, you better be tracking your sales and inventory mix. Companies like The Edge will become increasingly more important to titrate down your inventory mix.
11. Included in this is shopper-tainment. Shoppers want to be entertained. We have blogged on this for at least two years and it is still a growing trend. With merchandising increasing, it is important to enhance customers to come in and purchase. Included with this in the interactive customer engagement such as virtual try ons, trunk shows, and other events to interact with patients. Events, events, events, and more events are the primary way to engage your patients and overcome show-rooming.
More than 80% of consumers said they'd pay more for a product if they had a great experience with it, according to a study by branding agency Jack Morton.
12. This is the time to set up your Social Good section in your office. About 50% of the companies on our Kickstarting Monday have a Give-Back Model. In addition, many other companies that are established, such as MODO, Penn Avenue Eyewear, Adlens, John Lennon Eyewear (one 4 one business model) Wileyx, ClearVision, Hilci (Breast Cancer and others), Modern Optical, VisionEase Lens, Transitions, and HOYA all have a corporate sustainability program.
13. One of the trends we are seeing is the custom market. The Custom Eyewear (Bespoke) Market will be getting stronger due to technology and sales. Switchable lenses (Switch Vision), changeable temples, personalized engraving, custom lenses (Free Form lenses), 3D Eyewear and DIY decor on lenses/frames all add up to a strong opportunity for eyecare professionals to 'personalize' their marketing and their inventory mix. Many online companies including Warby Parker are offering custom options with color and engraving.
14. Social Media is migrating to sites such as Twitter, Instragram, Pinterest, SnapChat, Vine, Google+, LinkedIn. Facebook is still king, but you might ask in the chair and in the dispensing room, what Social Media your patients are active on...Because that is where you need to be. Not convinced? Check out some of these stats: (Source)
15. Affordable Health Care Acts are frustrating, scary, confusing, and well we won't go on and on about this. But it does open many opportunities for eye care professionals.
16. Free Shipping. Every online company is offering free shipping, which has become the norm. So now the consumer is expecting it.
17. Short Delivery Times. Consumers do not want to wait for their merchandise.
18. Discounts. The consumer continues to look for the discounts, so much in fact, Nordstrom's and Saks are both planning on opening up more outlet centers. In fact, research says that 51% of consumers are using coupons. Companies such as Coupons at Checkout, will automatically scan the Web to give a relevant discount code before a purchase. Shopular, is a mobile app that automatically sends phone coupons when you walk into a store.
19. No more cash. PayPal and Google are all means of paying for your goods. You might consider adding Paypal and Google to your list of purchase options.
20. We are huge believers in Shopping Local. This is such a key area of marketing for eyecare providers. Around the holidays more than a third of consumers planned to shop at small, local businesses, up from about a quarter in 2012, according to Deluxe Corp. This is a strong growing demand for unique products and personalized services, as well as awareness that shopping local can boost one's home economy.
Over the course of the next few months we will be writing about all of the above and how to overcome and market. Stay tuned.